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Concept# Second quantization

Summary

Second quantization, also referred to as occupation number representation, is a formalism used to describe and analyze quantum many-body systems. In quantum field theory, it is known as canonical quantization, in which the fields (typically as the wave functions of matter) are thought of as field operators, in a manner similar to how the physical quantities (position, momentum, etc.) are thought of as operators in first quantization. The key ideas of this method were introduced in 1927 by Paul Dirac, and were later developed, most notably, by Pascual Jordan and Vladimir Fock.
In this approach, the quantum many-body states are represented in the Fock state basis, which are constructed by filling up each single-particle state with a certain number of identical particles. The second quantization formalism introduces the creation and annihilation operators to construct and handle the Fock states, providing useful tools to the study of the quantum many-body theory.
The starting point of the second quantization formalism is the notion of indistinguishability of particles in quantum mechanics. Unlike in classical mechanics, where each particle is labeled by a distinct position vector and different configurations of the set of s correspond to different many-body states, in quantum mechanics, the particles are identical, such that exchanging two particles, i.e. , does not lead to a different many-body quantum state. This implies that the quantum many-body wave function must be invariant (up to a phase factor) under the exchange of two particles. According to the statistics of the particles, the many-body wave function can either be symmetric or antisymmetric under the particle exchange:
if the particles are bosons,
if the particles are fermions.
This exchange symmetry property imposes a constraint on the many-body wave function. Each time a particle is added or removed from the many-body system, the wave function must be properly symmetrized or anti-symmetrized to satisfy the symmetry constraint.

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Related concepts (18)

Second quantization

Second quantization, also referred to as occupation number representation, is a formalism used to describe and analyze quantum many-body systems. In quantum field theory, it is known as canonical quantization, in which the fields (typically as the wave functions of matter) are thought of as field operators, in a manner similar to how the physical quantities (position, momentum, etc.) are thought of as operators in first quantization. The key ideas of this method were introduced in 1927 by Paul Dirac, and were later developed, most notably, by Pascual Jordan and Vladimir Fock.

Canonical quantization

In physics, canonical quantization is a procedure for quantizing a classical theory, while attempting to preserve the formal structure, such as symmetries, of the classical theory, to the greatest extent possible. Historically, this was not quite Werner Heisenberg's route to obtaining quantum mechanics, but Paul Dirac introduced it in his 1926 doctoral thesis, the "method of classical analogy" for quantization, and detailed it in his classic text Principles of Quantum Mechanics.

Fock state

In quantum mechanics, a Fock state or number state is a quantum state that is an element of a Fock space with a well-defined number of particles (or quanta). These states are named after the Soviet physicist Vladimir Fock. Fock states play an important role in the second quantization formulation of quantum mechanics. The particle representation was first treated in detail by Paul Dirac for bosons and by Pascual Jordan and Eugene Wigner for fermions.

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